NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While waiting to see if they can create a big splash at the winter meetings, the Cubs continued to make smaller moves and deepen their pitching staff by signing Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $4.25 million contract.
The Cubs have plans to at least stretch Cahill out as a starter in spring training, though his best fit at this point in an up-and-down career is probably in the bullpen, where he emerged as a trusted late-inning reliever for manager Joe Maddon during a playoff run to the National League Championship Series.
Two sources confirmed the Cahill deal – first reported by ESPN on Monday – is still pending a physical as the Cubs post up inside the sprawling Opryland complex in Nashville, Tennessee.
Cahill had said he wanted to come back to Chicago and saw a good fit within the team’s pitching infrastructure, though the Cubs entered the offseason not knowing if his six playoff appearances and October exposure would push this to a point where it wouldn’t make economic sense.
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Cahill – who will be 28 years old next season – once won 18 games and made an All-Star team with the Oakland A’s in 2010. The 6-foot-4 right-hander made 32 starts and reached 200 innings in 2012, when he went 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But Cahill had to reinvent himself last season after getting released by the Atlanta Braves in June – when he had a 7.52 ERA – and opting out of a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cahill pitched 17 innings out of the bullpen in September and early October, putting up a 2.12 ERA and giving the Cubs a reliever who could pitch multiple innings at a time when the rotation appeared to be running on fumes.
The Cubs already signed left-hander Clayton Richard to a one-year, $2 million deal and offered a contract to Travis Wood, another lefty who transitioned from the rotation and carved out a role in the bullpen. Wood earned $5.686 million this year and has one more season left as an arbitration-eligible player before hitting free agency.